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​Adventure Racing: The Call of the Wild

If you’re looking for a challenge that’s off the beaten path, or something that can push your mental and physical limits, adventure racing might be an option to consider. Although adventure racing has been around for a while, it’s quickly gaining popularity in the mainstream athletic scene.

What Is Adventure Racing?

Imagine an Easter egg hunt for adults, but with more distance to cover and less candy. Adventure racing (AR) is the crazy cousin of triathlons, encompassing two or more endurance disciplines, and ranging from a few hours to several days.

Adventure racing can include:

  • Running
  • Mountain biking
  • Paddling (canoe or kayak)
  • Orienteering
  • Rappelling or other rope skills

The goal is to find as many “checkpoints” or “passport controls” as possible in a given amount of time. Racers may use only approved maps, a compass, a given clue sheet, and their navigation skills to find their way. The team (which can range from a solo racer to as many as four people) that finishes the fastest and with the most number of checkpoints wins.

Courses and Formats

Unlike triathlons, there is no set course that racers follow. Each team must plot the points and the course before the start of the race, according to what team members deem to be the fastest and most efficient route. ARs are considered “unsupported,” which means that racers are responsible for planning their own route, moving from point to point on their own power, and providing their own food, water, and equipment. There are two types of course formats: linear and rogaine.

  • Linear courses have mandatory checkpoints and transition areas that must be found in order.
  • Rogaine courses are less strict, meaning racers can find checkpoints in any order, with some being optional.

Race lengths vary greatly, so racers can be challenged at any level of experience. Types of races can range from three to six hours to multiday events (anything over 30 hours).

Fueling Your Body

Nutrition and hydration are vital for a team’s success, and can be the difference between finishing first and being rescued from a course. Racers are required to carry a backpack with a capacity of at least 70 ounces of water. Sports drinks, gels, and tablets are also handy in aiding hydration. Snacks are carried in the pack and can vary greatly from person to person. Food should be tailored to each person’s needs but still provide enough energy to keep the racer going. Overall, proper planning and smart packing are the keys to a successful race.

For more information on how we can help you improve performance and avoid injury, call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).

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